Why We Need a Healthier Food System

Here at Recycled Minds, we like to think of ourselves as "conscious consumers," especially when it comes to the food that we eat. We love food, we love cooking and creating, and we also love going out and sampling what others create. We have our fingers in the various food movements, from organics to supporting local producers, to vegetarianism, to a conscious fish catch and consumption. All of these movements have their positive sides, and offer something for all of us to strive to improve in our own lives. There are also many constraints that people from across the social-economic spectrum face that keep many of these food movements on the fringes of the mainstream.
Having just come across a recent article about the price of food-borne illnesses in Utah, has us wondering if new findings could push us towards a healthier food system for everyone. We're talking about the health implications that stem from the diets that we keep, as well as the system that produces the food that we consume. The article from the Desert News reveals that people in Utah spend $1.2 billion dollars on health care costs (and lost wages) because of food-borne illnesses. The article refers to a new report from the Make Our Food Safe Coalition, so we went and found out what they were talking about.

What we found was at once startling and not all that surprising, and it certainly put the problem in perspective - this is something that needs to be addressed! The study "estimates the total economic impact of foodborne illness across the nation to be a combined $152 billion annually." This is an incredible sum, especially in these times of economic distress. This is $152 billion lost because of the food we eat to survive. They have produced an informative interactive map that details these costs by state. The coalition further reports:
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 76 million new cases of food-related illness—resulting in 5,000 deaths and 325,000 hospitalizations—occur in the U.S. each year. The ten states with the highest costs per case are: Hawaii, Florida, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, the District of Columbia, Mississippi, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey."
While many of us are lucky enough to engage in the support of alternative food production strategies, the dominant corporate food production still reigns supreme, and most people have no choice but to consume the products of this system. This work makes it abundantly clear that while the citizens of the U.S. may be getting cheap food, they are paying for it with their health.

Visit the Make Our Food Safe Coalition here>>>

Read more about their report here>>>

Check out their interactive map of the costs of food borne illness here>>>

And do your best to support the various alternatives to corporate food production.

Comic Image courtesy of www.naturalnews.com
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1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a superb post! Thank you for bringing all of this to light -- especially the socio-economic context in which you place the issue of food safety and food choices.


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